Tips for safe needle disposal

Press Release

With spring weather quickly approaching, many workplaces, community groups, and individuals will be taking steps to clean up outdoor spaces.
The Northwestern Health Unit would like to remind the public that there is a chance a discarded needle may be part of the garbage found.
“Knowing how to safely dispose of a found needle is very important,” stressed Gillian Lunny, manager of sexual health and harm reduction at the health unit.
“Handling needles incorrectly can lead to needle poke injuries and potential infections,” she warned.
“We encourage parents, teachers, and adults to remind children to never touch a needle and to tell an adult right away if one is found,” Lunny added.
Keep yourself and others safe by following these steps to safe needle pick-up:
•If possible, use gloves and tongs to pick up the needle.
•Never put the cap back on a needle.
•Place the needle in a hard-sided plastic container, tightly seal, and label “Needle.”
•Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer, after picking up a needle.
•Return the needle to your local health unit office.
•Never put needles down the toilet, in drains, or in the garbage.
•Call your local health unit office to pick up needles safely if you cannot.
In the spring, public health nurses throughout the region will be distributing educational materials to workplaces, community partners, and schools about what to do if you find a needle.
The Northwestern Health Unit’s harm reduction program provides free resources, training, and equipment to community members, organizations, and workplaces to support safe needle disposal and minimize the risk of exposure to infections.
These services include providing:
•mountable sharps containers;
•workplace presentations, and
•needle pick-up kits.
For more information or to request a presentation, contact your local Northwestern Health Unit office.

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